Archive For The “Travel” Category

Portugal is Paradise & I May Never Leave

Portugal is Paradise & I May Never Leave

Pairs Well With…Sunshine + Portuguese Egg Tarts + Blue Waters + Magic of the City

As I sit in the living room of my apartment in Portugal, windows open, sun shining in, church bells ringing, and the rumble of the 28 line (yellow tram) below me, I realize that these simple pleasures are what I hoped Portugal would deliver. Lisbon, dazzling, alluring and picturesque, is everything I want in a city – and more.  Soaking in the dreaminess of the city with an espresso from the cafe around the corner in my left hand, and waving to the guy on his balcony looking in on me (which is only less creepy because it’s in the morning than it would be at night) with my right, I couldn’t feel any happier or carefree. These next four weeks have the potential to be Nicholas Sparks’ next novel plot.  Just sayin’…

Yellow tram Lisbon Portugal

The famous “yellow tram”

Before leaving Belgrade, I already had Lisbon on my mind. While it’s a dangerous thing to have expectations too high for anything unknown, especially cities or people, I let my mind put Lisbon, the San Francisco of Europe, on a pedestal anyway. Leading up to the move, I romanticized the idea of living in Lisbon, and about what the city would share with and teach me. My only hope was that the city and my preconceived notions delivered in ways my mind hadn’t got around to dreaming up yet.

Call me a mind reader, but I already knew I was going to love Portugal before I moved here.  I just had a feeling and, sometimes, that’s just enough to go on. After five weeks in Belgrade with a culture that’s quite stoic, I realized that the culture and lack of radiant energy in Serbia took my energy, leaving me feeling drained and down at times. So, you can see why a place like Lisbon might seem refreshing right now.

Lisbon, Portugal building

And, speaking of refreshing, can we talk for a second about how I’m pretty much living on the water, which means two things: 1) my creativity peaks and 2) my tan will be on point all month long.  So, if I’m not splashing around somewhere between Lisbon and Lagos, I’ll likely be holed up somewhere in Porto’s wine country or riding in a camper conquering the coastline.  All these things are in a high realm of possibility.

WHERE I KICK IT:  Perhaps my favorite apartment to date, my bright space offers an optimistic start to each day, a free churchbell alarm clock, and is conveniently located by this little wellness cafe that will no doubt know my order by the end of the week.

Lisbon, Portugal apartment

The living room

Lisbon, Portugal apartment

The dining area

Lisbon, Portugal apartment

My bedroom

WHERE I’M WORKIN’ IT:  A great open air workspace full of inspiration!

Lisbon Portugal office workspace

Lisbon Workspace

Lisbon Portugal office workspace

Outdoor seating at the workspace

Lisbon, Portugal Office

Office space inspiration



Population: 531,000 (The smallest city we’ve lived in to date, though it feels much bigger.)
Currency: The Euro (1 Euro = $1.06 USD)
Language: Portuguese (Let’s see if I can do better than the time I went to Brazil…)

Lisbon, a city older than Rome by four centuries, offers lots of unexpected, yet delightful, surprises. There are hidden gems throughout the narrow and winding streets.  Oh, and that big body of water I’d been calling an ocean in my Instagram stories?  Joke’s on me. It’s a river, not an ocean, though, by the size of it, I’m going to guess many tourists and short-term residents make this mistake. Lisbon is the second oldest capital city in Europe after Athens, Greece. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure where Portugal was on a map, but then I realized it was the country that looks like it’s about to get eaten by Spain.

The people here are on what I’m calling “Lisbon time.”  One of the locals I met yesterday even described her culture as lazy.  “If Portuguese people have something they need to do, they will do it, but procrastination (and being on your own time) is a big part of the process.” The culture tends to be late for everything, and it’s a rarity that anything starts on time.  Punctuality is just not a thing here.


  • Lisbon feels very San Francisco-eque, inclusive of a Golden Gate Bridge knock off.  The difference is, I can afford to live in Lisbon.  I can’t afford San Fran.
  • You don’t stand a chance in heels since most of the city’s streets are cobblestone.
  • These hills, with a 10-12% incline, offer a free “Buns of Steel” workout.  But really, there are massive hills everywhere.
  • My current bedtime puts me in bed about four hours before the real action of the city kicks in.  Dinner takes place here between 9-10pm.  Then, a pre-go out drink is usually in order before locals meet up with their friends around 3 am for drinks, dancing and socialization.
  • What the hell are tuk-tuks doing here?  This is Lisbon, not Asia! There is an increasing trend of tuk-tuk transportation here.  Been there, done that.  Somehow, tuk-tuks just don’t seem to fit in here.
  • Egg custard tarts are all the rage.  
  • Porto is “the place” for all things port wine, but Lisbon’s drink of choice is Ginjinha, a cherry liquor that is meant to be sipped on and enjoyed before a big night on the town.

So that, my friends, is your Lisbon run down.  I anticipate this will be one of my favorite months, so stay tuned to all that is to come!

Lisbon, Portugal city streets

The colorfully decorated streets of Lisbon!



A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Thailand

A Girl’s Gotta Eat: All The Things I Ate In Thailand

Pairs Well With…Pad Thai + Pad Thai + More Pad Thai

We’re here.  We made it.  Thailand is the last month of the Asia food challenges.  You’ll be disappointed to know that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the grand finale of surprises, live shrimp. Instead, I stood on the sidelines drinking a nicely chilled glass of rose, per usual. But to make up for what I didn’t eat, I at least made an attempt at eating scorpions.  #thathappened.  Here is what this month’s food challenge looked like:

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I also took up a new hobby this month: consuming frequent amounts of pad thai to the point where my body was rejecting noodles and carbs by the end of the month.  (Okay, that’s actually not even really true at all and probably never will be.  But…I’m pretty sure I haven’t had noodles since I left Thailand.)

Thailand has some of THE BEST food I’ve ever tasted, a likely reason why it is one of the most popular cuisines in the world.  One thing I love about the Thai food is that it almost always consists of the five major flavors (sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter) and leaves a lasting impression on your palate. This is also why you can expect a good number of ingredients in any given Thai dish.  You can also bet it will have a strong sent and some level of spice, like it or not.


Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Same, Same…But WAY Different (My European Welcome)

Pairs Well With…Getting it together + Cultural Adaptation + New Continent

I’m happy to report that after one week of hiding out, stomping feet, being yelled at by little old ladies and on the verge of a major breakdown in Belgrade, I’ve survived and have resurfaced.  No, really. Last week, it felt like the world was ending, and it was unbearable to think that I’d be living in Belgrade for the next five weeks. Five weeks. Why five weeks here when every other country had been four?  Was this some sort of punishment?

Day after day of my first week in Belgrade, I faced minor annoyances that compounded into what felt like a catastrophic problem until one day I found myself unloading tears of frustration on the corner of “sign I can’t read” and “sign I can’t read.” I think it’s safe to say that Belgrade and I got off on the wrong foot because I’m (finally) starting to enjoy my time here.  But last week, all I was thinking last week was, “How do I buy a ticket out of here?!


Thailand’s Top 10 Thrills & Things to Do

Thailand’s Top 10 Thrills & Things to Do

Pairs Well With…”Cheap Thrills” by Sia

Thailand came in as the front-runner of my four months in Asia.  I loved everything about it.  From food to adventures to the people, it was an amazing, eye-opening and an unforgettable part of my travels.  When you’re standing with an elephant who wants to play with you or on one of the most beautiful islands in the world by yourself watching the sunset, it’s hard not to stop and say to yourself, “Hot damn, I can’t believe this is my life.”

I was fortunate enough to see a good portion of Thailand.  I put on a lot of moving miles between planes, buses, boats and car rides.  While in Bangkok the majority of the month, I was afforded many cheap thrills and laughable photo opps, and each of my Thailand mini adventures gave me a little something different.  Shortly after my arrival to Bangkok, I took off for a few days of work catch up on the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.  Pictures can’t even do this part of the country justice.  Then, it was back to Bangkok for a few days before heading up north for cultural exploring and “do-gooding” in Chiang Mai.  As I left Thailand, I realized I had pretty much done “all the things.”


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